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Showing posts from August 15, 2004
Bollettino The reductum ad absurdum happening among Shiite tombs outside of Najaf shows, among other things, how absolutely blind D.C. still is to its war and where it is fighting it. There are no editorials asking the question they should be asking: why are we in Najaf? Indeed, a complicated question. Is it because Sadr’s thuggish militia has invaded a sovereign town? Hmm, sounds like – well, sounds like what is happening in Kirkuk with the Kurdish militias. Sounds like what we agreed to in Fallujah. Sounds, indeed, like what we promoted in bringing Chalabi and his men into Baghdad. So let’s think up a different reason. The original reason – to get rid of a minor irritant to Paul Bremer’s proconsulship – has slipped away into history. The story that Sadr was a minor and unpopular leader, much purveyed among the embedded press in April, has slipped away with the Bremer era. The new story is that the inhabitants of Najaf welcome the American intervention. That might well be true – but
Bollettino Nicholas Lemann’s interesting Talk of the Town piece pokes through the ashes of one of the great original Cold War threatmongering sets, The Committee on The Present Danger. That Committee, formed in the McCarthy era to wrest anti-communism from the vulgar and demagogic and relocate it on a higher echelon – namely, Harvard – was headed by James Conant, the great patron of Thomas Kuhn, and one of Harvard’s “forward looking” presidents. Lemann points out that the first Committee was formed to advocate for a universal draft. And one of Conant’s assistants on this ultimately quixotic quest was John Kerry’s father. Lemann’s history lesson backgrounds the spurious reconstruction of the Committee on The Present Danger, run by your usual assortment of neocon Post Office Wanted types: Joe Lieberman, Newt Gingrich, and the rest of the breathy, self-regarding crowd. They generated a little excitement by hiring an ex Reagan admin. employee who had been capturing a stream of reven